Student Post: Hannah Vernier

4, May 2011 § Leave a comment

A while ago, in Creative Writing, Jeffrey explained to us that in Greek there are three words for love, each of them denoting a distinct emotion, a different phenomenon. The first two made enough sense to me: eros, romantic love, and philos, the love you feel for your family and very close friends.  But then we got to the third, agape, what Jeffrey described as the love you feel for mankind in general. Now, I’m no misanthrope– of course I’ve felt a certain fondness for the human race at times– but at that moment, it struck me as odd that the Greeks would have come up with a completely different word for it. That, however, was before I really got involved in life here on Paros and at the Aegean Center.

This past Friday, the hike cut short by the Independence Day parade in the morning, we went to a place called Kolympithres. The bus dropped us off near a bay with water that I, someone who comes from a city where they dye the river ever St. Patrick’s Day, can hardly believe is naturally that ridiculous, perfect shade of cerulean. We walked along the beach until we got to a small mountain, and began scrambling, some more elegantly than others, up the boulders to the top. I was motivated by something John had mentioned earlier: there were ancient ruins at the top. And ruins there were– A Mycenaen citadel, with 5,000-year-old walls still standing waist-high and an incredible view of the bay. Eventually, we climbed back down the other slope over enormous, wind-carved boulders and began heading back along the beach, this time stopping to wade in. By the time we made it back to the bus stop, I don’t think I was alone in feeling like my heart was swelling; at the end of that hike, I just wanted to hug someone.

By this point, three weeks into the semester, I feel like I’ve begun really getting to know the other students. Before I came here, I have to say that I was anxious about that prospect, especially given some of the stereotypes about art school students. But now that I’m here, I am continually struck by how well our group gets along, and, frankly, by how much I just plain like everyone. Then there are the teachers, who are not only great at what they do, but who honestly care about the students and our work. I get the feeling that I’m surrounded by an incredible group of people, and that I am unbelievably lucky to be. In this place, and more specifically, in this group of people, I have come to understand why the Greeks need that third word for love. I think it’s safe to say that I have fallen head over heels in agape.

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